First up we have ‘Klytus’ and ‘General Kala’ of the Imperial Secret Police. Both fantastic sculpts and with inspiration clearly taken from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie (also known as the best film ever).
This pair were painted mainly using Citadel contrast paints. I’ve found I can get fairly pleasing results using Black Templar over a white undercoat.
Similarly inspired from the same source are these ‘Alien Legionnaires’. These are quite iconic and one of my favourite designs from the movie, as such I went a bit overboard and ended up with quite a lot of these to paint (including two heavy weapons teams).
Also bought in bulk were the ‘Otherworldly Guards’. I’ve seen these painted up as both allies (Treemen) and enemies (Ming’s guards). I’ve gone for a similar colour scheme here to Klytus and Kala, this guy being a grunt in the secret police.
Finally in this first batch of Crooked Dice miniatures I’ve painted is the big dog himself, the Emperor Ming. The styling of this sculpt is more of an ode to the classic comic strips and Buster Crabbe serials of the 1930s than the movie. In fact there is a touch of Defenders of the Earth about this Ming, so the big question was whether to go ‘green skin’ or not. In the end I decided on a more human look, but in contrast to the blacks and reds I had themed most of the previous figures on I decided to go mainly white and ‘royal’ purple. Again I used contrast paints for this (in the past I would never even of attempted this much white on a figure, which makes me wish contrast had come out back when I was painting a lot of Star Wars Stormtroopers for Legion).
This also gave me the chance to break out the airbrush after a long hiatus and I subesequently went with what I am now referring to as a ‘Mongo Military’ red and gold colour scheme. I don’t think a galactic despot can really have enough robots when it comes to it!
Next up I’ve got some of the good guys to paint, including the ‘saviour of the universe’ himself.
Recently I’ve been catching up with some ‘Pulp’ painting, finishing off a group of figures I didn’t get round to for the 7TV game at Hammerhead and also completing a number of half painted minis that have been on the table (in some cases for years).
First up are my ‘Sky Pirates’. A mix of figures I have been planning for us with some of the lovely looking 3D printed airships I’ve been working on recently. The red headed heroine is an out of production mini from Statuesque Miniatures from their Pulp Alley line. Talking of Pulp Alley, her team mates are from some Pulp Figures packs I picked up over Christmas.
Next up we have a really characterful figure from Artizan Designs. This chap has been sat undercoated on my workbench for quite a few years now, so it was great to be able to finally get round to finishing him. Kind of has the look of either a dependable sidekick, a guide or perhaps even an evil henchman?
Shifting forward about a decade to more 1940s style aesthetic we have a Warlord Games ‘female agent’ style figure who wouldn’t look out of place next to a certain WW2 era star spangled Captain.
Next we have a dastardly German office from the Thrilling Tales range of figures from Artizan Designs.
Finally here is a set of security guards from Crooked Dice for 7TV Pulp.
Across all of these I’ve used a mix of normal acrylic paints from the likes of Vallejo, Army Painter, Citadel, Coat d’Arms, Reaper and Andrea Colour, as well as contrast paints from Games Workshop.
I’m beginning to learn which contrast paints suit my painting style the best, with black, white and red being particular favourites. I’m sure this is going to prove handy as I have started on the Pulp Sci Fi rewards from the latest Crooked Dice 7TV Kickstarter.
First off, many thanks to Karl at Crooked Dice for asking me to help out and run a game alongside his trade stand on the day. As many may know Hammerhead is quite unique in the wargaming calendar in being a show that is 100% based around participation games. No ‘just watching’ here; it’s all about having a go.
I therefore wanted to make it as easy as possible for folk to play and to that end I had a set of pre-built casts ready to go.
I stuck mostly with the format and setup I had trialled at the club a few weeks earlier, with some minor changes to the bad guys in particular (as I had finished painting a squad of Pulp Figures Jet Troopen that I really wanted to field).
I also made a few changes to the scenario, dropping the peril cards but utilising the ‘Ark of the Convenant’ macguffin card. I fleshed out a bit of the background and set the game up as the last part of a 12 part cinema serial called ‘The Doom of Stahl Mask’. Stahl Mask was the titular villian and another great mini from Pulp Figures.
In addition to the ‘opening crawl’ I also dug out some quick reference sheets I’d picked up at a previous event and made sure each player had easy access to a plentiful supply of tokens for plot points and that dice and tape measures were close to hand.
I arrived in plenty of time to setup and having done a test setup of the table earlier in the week was able to set out the game fairly quickly.
Despite a bit of waiting around after the doors opened I soon had my first punters. A chap and his teenage son who had played the game before (at Hammerhead the previous year) and who were keen to give the new Pulp rules a go. This game was a joy to run as they both really got into the spirit (and ridiculousness) of the game and plot. I am terrible at remembering the details of games, but this went pretty much down to the last ‘cliffhanger’ card.
Almost immediately I had another set of players keen to give the game a go. Another father and son duo with previous experience, this was again a fun game to run through and at times attracted quite a crowd (viewing figures were high!)
And then straight into yet another game! This time with a pair of novices. Now this was a bit more of a challenge, partly because I had to spend longer on laying out the rules and helping out with some decision making; but mostly because my players were also trying to keep a couple of young ones from getting too board while they were playing.
All of a sudden it was 3.30pm and the show was nearly over! Just like that! I’d done three full back-to-back games without much of a break in between. I managed to get a very quick look round the show and was able to pick up a few goodies from Karl (as well as a set of command cards for Iron Cross from the Great Escape Games stand).
I packed up utterly exhausted, but really pleased I had been able to run the game without too much of a hiccup and almost constantly throughout the day. This was my first visit to Hammerhead (and the Newark Showground venue) in any capacity (I never managed to get in when I was trading). I obviously didn’t get too much chance to look around, but it seemed quite busy (I think a lot of people realised that this might be their last chance to get out to a show for a while) and the venue was light and airy (albeit a bit chilly too).
I really look forward to the opportunity to do the same again sometime. Sadly with the current global situation all shows (including planned games at Chillcon Sheffield and the next 7TV day at Dales Wargames) are now on hold, but I see this as an opportunity to plan out some new episodes and maybe get that ‘secret’ base finally finished!
Oh and of course I mustn’t forget the fact that I was able to pickup my 7TV Pulp Sci Fi pledge on the day…..
On Saturday March 14th I will be running a participation game of 7TV Pulp at Hammerhead. Karl from Crooked Dice kindly offered me some space on his stand to run a game and I have been preparing for this for a few weeks now.
Originally I was going to run a game based around the original core set of 7TV and make it a ‘spy-fi’ adventure. I had a hankering to build a secret base and although I started the project (and will finish it at some point), I soon switched my focus to doing something based on the lastest Pulp setting and rules.
Part of this change of plan was the amount of time I had available to prepare. The day job is kind of hectic at the moment, and so I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew with respect to the table build. Also I’m aware that there are a few Pulp releases up coming and I wanted to help Karl promote the most up-to-date range.
To that end I looked at re-purposing the V2/flying saucer table I had taken to both the last Wargames Illustrated 7TV day and the recent event at Board in Brum. Other than some hybrid games using casts and cards from across the 7TV sets I had not played a game solely using the Pulp rules and was keen to try out some of the new profiles and features (such as peril cards).
So a couple of Sundays ago I went through a test game at our monthly Dales Wargames meeting. Playing against my friend Darren and his son, I wanted to use to game to get a handle on some of the new rules introduced in Pulp, check out the use of peril cards to enhance the episodes and check the table layout and casting.
Having never run a game at a show before I wanted to also make sure that I made setup and play as straightforward as possible for new players and to enable folk to easily drop in and out of play. I decided to this end to preset the placement of objectives and choose the defenders based on the ‘plot of the episode I was going to film’.
To that end, my bad guys (Stahl Mask and his evil sect of third reich fanatics) would be the defenders and my heroic adventuring archeologist and his team of allied misfits would be the attackers. I preset also the starting positions of the the majority of the figures, only allowing the players to place their spy models.
We played a straight ‘Battle’ episode from the Producers Guide but with the addition of the macguffin using one of the new Pulp macguffin cards. In this case, ‘The Ark of the Covenant’. We also used a peril card to enable two pieces of scenery to be secretly (by the defender) be marked as booby trapped.
The casts were set at 40 points each, but for narrative purposes I slightly bent the rules on one third extras for the heroes (they were under by a couple of ratings points). I hadn’t yet finished painting the majority of the extras for Stahl Mask’s lot, so ended up proxying in some ‘Moon Nazis’ in place of Jet Troopers and Lizard Men.
On the heroes side I used a mix of models, including some of the Crooked Dice releases for Pulp, as well as a really old Peter Cushing Dr.Who as my eccentric inventor (a Harlequin miniatures release from back in the day). In addition I added in a selection of other figures from Crooked Dice (including Danger 5) as well as some Artizan Designs and Statuesque miniatures. These covered most of the main archetypes I wanted to use from the Pulp profiles, including my spies, a Gadgeteer, a Soldier of Fortune and others.
The main man, my archeologist, was from the Cthulhu Death May Die board game by CMON. There are some excellent figures in here that fit the period, they are slightly larger than standard 28mm scale, but don’t look too out of place.
Talking of larger figures, on the bad guys side I proxied in a few figures including an SA officer from the Mantic Hellboy game. Now this fella was a bit too big – although I guess he could fit in in terms of being some sort of ‘super soldier’.
For those of you who are interested here is the make up of the casts in terms of the 7TV Pulp cards used:
The game itself flowed well, back and forth, with some epically bad dice rolling on both sides. The basic conceit of the episode was that as the third reich was falling and the red army closely in, our villain Stahl Mask is making a last ditch effort to escape with his collected treasures and weird technologies in his protoype flying saucer. Would he escape to the safety of the secret Antarctic base and then perhaps on to Luna, or would Professor Harrison Jones and his gang finally catch up with him put him to justice and save the sacred artefact?
We ended up making into the finale act of the episode with neither cast being axed, although Stahl Mask was mightly bruised and was lucky he had his mask as there was a bit of an ‘open the ark face melting incident’.
All in all I think the game is setup well for the upcoming shows. In addition to Hammerhead I’ll also be taking the game to Chillcon in Sheffield at the end of the month.
It was also good to get a proper game of 7TV Pulp in for the first time too. Although not a big fan of the newly introduced ‘one melee action’ per activation rule, I can see why this has been done as some of the new card special effects and star qualities key off this. Another comment was the brutality of the cliffhanger deck. These seemed to be weighted more towards bad stuff happening that the original 7TV countdown card deck, although that could of course been down the deck of cards we dealt on the day.
I also really liked the macguffin and peril cards. For the purposes of the show games I will probably only use the former, so there is not too much to remember, especially for new players.
Since the game at Dales I have managed to borrow some of the clubs scenery to flesh out the board and have also nearly finished painting some additional miniatures which will enable me to both tweak the casts slightly and just give me some more options……
One of the great joys I take from my gaming and modelling hobby is the ability to mash-up all different aspects of my favourite pop culture into something I can play with on the tabletop. This is one of the reasons I love 7TV so much. As well as having a decades long obsession with cult TV and movies, I’m also able to use the flexibility of the game to introduce some of my favourite comic book and toy characters from my youth.
I was born in the mid-seventies and so most of my childhood was spent growing up in the neon lit, shoulder pad wearing, verging on nuclear apocalypse, 1980s. Comics were a huge part of my youth, but not perhaps in the way they were for other generations or in other parts of the world. Superheroes were never really my thing. In the early eighties the UK was culturally still living in the shadow of the second world war. The war generation was very much still around and this was reflected in the popular culture of the time. I had loads of toy soldiers (in the Action Man / Action Force / army men vein), war films were ten a penny on TV and in the cinema and the weekly adventure comics for boys were pretty much all focussed on war!
I existed on a weekly dose of Battle, with the occasional foray into Victor or the self contained Commando books (still going strong today). Then things started to change, Marvel UK started gobbling up those toy licenses, including the ridiculously popular Transformers. These were usually full colour comics on proper paper (unlike the war weeklies which were produced on standard newspaper stock). Unlike their American equivalents, the output from Marvel UK titles like Transformers was weekly. Most of the content was reprinted from the US titles, but due to the higher frequency of publication soon original UK content was required to fill the gaps. It was here that some of the best characters and writing in the Transformers title occured.
Anyway this is a hobby blog, so what has all this to do with tabletop gaming? Well, as I alluded to above, I love taking some of my favourite characters from back in the day and dropping then into a game.
Therefore I present to you Death’s Head, the freelance peacekeeping agent (don’t call him a bounty hunter), who first graced the pages of the Transformers UK comic, before spinning off into other titles (including Doctor Who, Dragon’s Claws and his own eponymous title, before eventually ending up facing off against some of the giants of the Marvel Universe).
Originally a Transformers sized mechanoid, he was eventually shrunk down to human size following an encounter with the Time Lord known as the Doctor (yes more crossovers!). It is the human sized Death’s Head I am working with here.
As a Marvel character the easiest way to get hold of a figure was to look at the Heroclix range and success there is one available. I picked him up off eBay a couple of years ago, but it is only recently I’ve managed to get round to deciding what to do with him.
As a Heroclix figure he came pre-painted. Often the Heroclix sculpts are great and only let down by a poor paint job. In this case I was fairly happy with both, but in order to add some more defintion and match up with other tabletop miniatures I may be using alongside him I decided on a ‘splash on’ of Army Painter Dark Tone Quickshade. I applied this by brush, being careful to soak up any excess before leaving it to dry for a day and then giving it a once over with Testers Dullcote. I’d already removed the figure from it’s original ‘clix’ base and added to a standard 30mm round base which I then did a basic drybrush and flock job on.
Now the figure was done it was time to think about the statistics. I used the excellent online 7TV Casting Agency app to create a profile card. I based this on the ‘Mean Machine’ profile from the 7TV Apocalypse set (itself a homage to a certain time travelling Austrian cyborg type chap). Using the rules for customising stars and co-stars from the 7TV Apocalypse Producer’s Guide I switched a few stats and special effects around and have ended up with the following:
For those of you who are interested in the ‘recipe’ for this, here are the steps I took from the base ‘Mean Machine’ profile, following the customisation rules. Note that the starting point in terms of ratings cost for the base profile was 10:
Renamed Star Quality from ‘Ill Be Back’ to ‘Freelance Peace Keeping Agent, yes?’ (no ratings cost)
Removed Military Training special effect (reducing ratings value to 9)
Decreased Body stat from 5 to 4 (reducing ratings value to 8)
Increased Mind stat from 2 to 3 (increasing ratings value to 9)
Added Loner special effect (increasing ratings value to 10)
Replaced UZI 9mm attack with Grenade, Electrical attack (no ratings cost)
Renamed ‘Steel Grip’ attack to Hand Power Axe (no ratings cost). Death’s Head had a nifty range of switchable hand weapons.
In the meantime this has got me thinking about how to mix in some bigger ‘mechanoids’ in with the standard 28mm scale 7TV figures I am using. Cue both Wizkids and their new range of unpainted pre-primed Transformers and my 3D printer…..
Just prior to Christmas I picked up a copy of the newly released Cthulhu Death May Die board game by CMON. This was another case of miniatures, rather than game driving my purchase decision. In fact it was yet another case of thinking ‘oh I could use them in 7TV’, 7TV Pulp to be precise.
I’ve played quite a few Cthulhu themed games and continue to quite regularly with my weekly board gaming chums. Favourites include, Mansions of Madness and the epic Cthulhu Wars. The general consensus in our circle when Death May Die was launched originally on Kickstarter some time ago, was that although it looked nice and had the usual high quality components and miniatures that CMON regularly knock out, the theme and general approach seemed a bit too ‘shooty’ and not ‘investigator focussed’ enough for the setting.
Fast forward and I am browsing the posts on the 7TV Productions Facebook page and see a size comparison of 28mm scale Crooked Dice minis and the one-piece pre-assembled plastics from Death May Die. The size is almost spot on, maybe a touch larger than 28mm, but certainly not too noticeable. The sculpts themselves are lovely, with a nice mix of character models, minions and monsters. Way back in the day I went in heavily on the original Zombicide game and expansions. I have to say in comparison to this, the quality of the minis that CMON are producing for their board games has improved leaps and bounds. Clean and crisp, with none of the old problems of thin bendy bits or soft detail. There is the usual issue when using board game miniatures with skirmish wargames that your troops or minions tend to be all of a single or limited number of poses, but I can live with that.
With 7TV Pulp having a very much Cthulhu inspired theme as one of its genres I took the opportunity not only to pick up the core box of Death May Die, but also a few of the expansions. There are some really nice big monster models here that I hope to be able to use with the upcoming release of the 7TV Menagerie of Terror card set.
The miniatures themselves are all one piece or pre-assembled in a quite hard PVC plastic which has made painting relatively easy. Using mostly contrast paints over primarily a white undercoat I have started so far on the minions and monsters with a view to ploughing through these and spending more time on the character models later.
While I will probably give the actual game a try at some point,in the meantime I am cracking on with the painting, including the big fella himself…..
Since my last visit the store had expanded into the full building it previously only occupied a part of. In fact the day of the event was the last full day at that location as they are moving to new expanded premises. As someone who struggled in the retail side of the industry it is heartening to see a local games store doing well and able to expand in this way.
While hosted by Simon of Board in Brum, the event was organised by the talented Mike Strong, who has a track record of adding some great additional narrative to these events. In true 7TV style this involved the ‘production studio’ having to cut back on costs, so across the three games in the day there were various additional objectives added in to try and keep the accountants at ‘Baron Studios’ happy. At the end of each game, based on your success at meeting these objectives (for example moving your cast the least amount of space across the board to save on cost) additional bonuses or abilities were made available for the next game. There was even a ‘scoreboard’ so the accountants could keep track of which producers were in the black and which were in the red.
The event followed a standard pattern of three games at 40 ratings each. This allowed for compact games run on either 3 by 3 or 4 by 4 tables with some flexibility on the number of stars and co-stars. This allowed me to take a reasonably sized cast, for which this time I chose Baron Ironblood and his Red Shadows using the ‘official’ profile cards for these characters published in the 7TV 1967 Annual.
There were a number of excellent tables available on the day, some provided by the venue, others brought by attendees. I brought along my secret Nazi rocket base complete with V2 launch site and Haunbau flying saucer (neatly parked in a stone circle).
Also worthy of mention was Mike’s Venetian layout (complete with what I can only assume was a lost submarine), David’s sinister funfair and Paul’s hex based ‘Children of the Fields’ themed setup. In fact there was a surplus of boards available on the day and we ended up sharing these with a Marvel Crisis Protocol event that was also taking place at the same time. (Which reminds me I need to finish of painting up my set for a game at the next Dales Meeting in February).
My first game was against my old adversary Kieron, who had somehow made his 40 ratings stretch to a 30 plus figure cast. There was a reason for this and that reason was…..zombies. Now I usually have epic bad luck with dice when playing against Kieron and this was no different.
Playing on my V2 rocket site board things started off bad and continued from there as two of my extras were immediately infected and replaced with zombies and the rest of the horde started their relentless stumble across the board towards the Baron and his fanatical followers. I’m terrible at remembering the specific details of games so I’d point you towards Kieron’s blog for an excellent narrative overview of the ‘episode’.
Unlike previous games between us, we did at least get through the first act and in fact managed to play through to the end of the countdown deck. The upshot was a win in terms of victory points for my opponent and ‘a slip into the red’ for me as a producer.
The second game of the day followed on from lunch and I found myself up against Simon and his gang of wasteland marauders.
This cast took a similar approach to the zombies with a single star and lots of lots of expendable extras. While not quite the size of the previous cast I’d faced, it did give me plenty of opportunity for some target practice for my fanatical Red Shadows.
Somehow all the bad dice luck I had had in the previous game was immediately passed over to my opponent who had some truly horrendous bad luck with his rolls. Again we managed to play through the full episode (the cost saving aspect for the studio here was that a bonus was conferred to the player who burnt through the most countdown cards). Despite losing a larger proportion of my cast I just about sqweaked a win in terms of victory points, although we both ended up with the same number of countdown cards, which at least meant I’d moved out of the red into the ‘grey’ prior to the final game of the day.
My final game of the day was against David and his biker gang. We played this on Kieron’s city table. It was a standard ‘steal’ scenario in which the defender had to keep and defend the Macguffin from the attacker.
I ended up with the Macguffin to start with and to my delight and my opponents dismay the random gadget I ended up drawing for this was the jet pack. Queue a game of cat and mouse, where the mouse was airbourne for much of the time, in what can only be described as a valiant rearguard action (i.e. I spent much of the game, running away).
The added cost saving objective for this game was to end the episode with the most left over plot points. Running entirely against type I managed to achieve this as David my opponent valiantly tried but ultimately failed to retrieve the Macguffin, burning through many of his remaining plot points to do so on the final turn.
All in all three cracking games, a well organised event at a friendly venue against a great bunch of opponents with lots of laughs. Just what a 7TV event should be.
I was also delighted to come away from the day with the prize for best table layout (goodies already ordered from Crooked Dice).
The next day at Board in Brum (at their new venue) is tentatively scheduled for September or October this year. I’d heartily recommend checking out the 7TV Productions Facebook group for all the latest news.